Jeff Gober and his wife Natasha from Utah were thrilled to welcome their first baby, Mallory.
Their baby girl brought so much light into their life, but suddenly, three weeks later, she passed away.
They were devastated and confused as to what had happened to their bundle of joy, but an investigation by medical experts revealed that their baby was fighting a life-threatening infection.
The Gobers weren't the only parents to have experienced a sudden loss like this.
In Maryland, Abigail Rose Friend and her husband also received the shock of a lifetime when their healthy newborn girl, Aliza Rose, passed away at only eight days old.
The Kiss of Death
Many people's first reaction when they see something cute is to kiss and cuddle it, showing all the affection they can, but a group of parents are warning people to think twice before going in for that kiss or gentle caress.
Both Gober and Friend learned that their newborns passed away after contracting Herpes Simplex Virus-1, which is the virus behind common cold sores.
While this infection isn't serious in older children and adults, it could be deadly in babies if not treated right away.
Gober said it took some time for him to get the courage to speak about his baby girl's sudden passing, but hopes that by sharing his story, no other parent will ever share his heartbreak.
"If you have a new baby, or will be around a new baby, wash your hands. A lot. If anyone wants to hold your baby, make sure they wash their hands first. Then make them do it again…" he shared on Facebook.
According to the World Health Organization, HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection, and it's estimated that 67% of the human population have it.
While this number is lower in the U.S., it's still cause for concern because many people who have the virus may not even know they've been infected and show no symptoms at all.
"Mallory was never in contact with a person who had an active cold sore. Never. Nobody ever kissed her on the mouth. In spite of that, she caught HSV-1 within her first week of life and we had to watch her die slowly for nearly 2 weeks," Gober added.
Friend also shared her devastating story on Facebook to raise awareness about the dangerous infection.
"I’m never going to stop sharing the gut wrenching, heartbreaking, soul shattering story of our sweet Aliza Rose ... She was healthy for a day and half before the HSV-1 virus attached to her spine and ate her lungs and brain. Someone touched her without washing their hands or kissed her face while being a carrier of the virus. And anyone can be a carrier and not show signs! It’s fatal until at least two weeks old and parents can pass it on to them as well! Please help us save more babies lives by sharing our story and NOT kissing babies. WASH YOE (sic) HANDS. DO NOT KISS THE BABIES."
These couples are one of many who have lost their babies, and their stories are equally as heartbreaking.
Last month, Lucy Kendall from England lost her 11-day-old newborn after he suddenly became infected with the herpes virus.
"As you can imagine we were just shocked and couldn't comprehend what had just been said," Kendall told Hull Daily Mail.
"Both of us didn't have herpes or cold sores, we were just heartbroken."
Another English mother learned her son was infected by the virus when she noticed strange bumps on his head.
Doctors told the concerned mother that her little boy had a case of eczema, but after the red spots started looking like infected blisters, she rushed her baby to the doctor to get a better diagnosis.
"It is just as deadly as meningitis in babies ... because it starts to attack their brain, lungs and other vital organs," Rhian Brace explained on her viral Facebook post.
Fortunately, Brace's son is on the path to recovery, thanks to her quick-thinking, but not every child is as lucky.
How To Recognize The Signs
Cold sores start out as small blisters that usually form around the lips and mouth, or other parts of the face.
This highly contagious virus can spread through saliva, skin-to-skin contact, or by touching an object handled by someone who has been infected.
For this reason, it's very easy for a newborn to become infected with the virus, especially since their immune systems are so weak.
Babies become sick very quickly, and show symptoms like a high fever, seizures, blisters, and fatigue.
Sometimes, it may be too late once visible symptoms, like blisters, show up.
Newborns also require immediate hospitalization and antiviral medication for nearly a month.
While this common virus is still treatable in newborns if caught early, some babies can suffer from brain damage or still end up dying from the infection.
For that reason, it's important to always wash your hands and avoid kissing babies, even if you feel confident that you're not infected by the virus.